A very long time ago in the land of pre-Covid 19, I rocked up to the Metro offices in Central London to record a podcast with two fun and highly intelligent women, Bibi Lynch and Miri Kane. I wore my best dress and best face (make up) to discuss my views on porn or, to be nuanced, my moral dilemma over porn.
Amidst laughs and intelligent introspection, we discussed the world of porn making where I applied a Marxist lens to analyse who gains and who doesn’t from female subjugation in the industry; and how South Asian feminism is fighting the sexual repression of women .
I first watched porn by accident (completely true), while living a very sheltered life as a South Asian teenager. It was one of those Beta Max videos which was all crackly with very bad quality moving pictures. They were referred to as ‘those videos’ in my very sheltered world. Years later I learnt that there was a word for ‘those videos’ and it was ‘porn’.
That first experience put me off watching porn. Besides, there wasn’t a ‘porn’ shaped hole in my life which needed it to be the solution. In other words, my life was fine without it. It didn’t touch me and I didn’t touch it – whether in video, DVD or internet form.
In my mid 50s, porn came knocking in the form of the Channel 4 TV series, ‘Mums Make Porn’. Participation required me to watch porn. I watched so much porn for research purposes that I once passed a hospital and wondered whether it had ever been a setting for a porn film. The porn culture had infiltrated my mind and was occupying recesses that I didn’t know existed.
More seriously, what I discovered was how diversity is manifested in porn through the use and abuse of women of colour. It seems that the colonial mentality still has a place and it’s in the porn industry.
Also, as a mother, I was highly disturbed by the ‘teen’ category featured on porn sites. My daughter was a teen when the series was filmed. She was constantly harassed on the streets by much older men. To those who buy into the ‘porn is fantasy’ BS just stop and think about the amount of soft power that it wields to convince you into thinking that way.
If there is one message which you, as the reader, take away from listening to this podcast let it be on how the porn industry sells certain role play categories as ‘fantasy’. Labelling it as such makes porn palatable. ‘Fantasy’ is the soft power of the porn industry. How else would they sell porn clip after porn clip featuring young teen girls, violence against women and rape?